Lean Thinking: A Transversal and Global Management Philosophy to Achieve Sustainability Benefits

  • Paulo AmaroEmail author
  • Anabela Carvalho Alves
  • Rui M. Sousa


The purpose of this paper is to discuss the relevance of Lean Thinking principles implementation around the world, both in industry and services, based on the growing number of published case studies and surveys. A comprehensive review has been conducted on case studies and surveys published between 1990 and 2018 describing Lean Production/Thinking implementations on different countries, classified by year of publication, country and type of company (discrete-industry/process-industry/services) and intervention scope (product/sector). The main findings of this study show that Lean Thinking is a real global (worldwide) and transversal approach to improve organizations’ performance (all types of industries and services). However, several organizations are not yet fully aware of the Lean principles as they do not apply the approach to an entire value stream (i.e. to products or families of products) but only to parts of value streams (i.e. to sectors or areas of the company). The review includes the identification of benefits related to environmental issues that contribute to the sustainability of the organizations.



This work has been supported by COMPETE: POCI-01-0145-FEDER-007043 and FCT—Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia within the Project Scope: UID/CEC/00319/2013.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ALGORITMI R&D Center, Department of Production and Systems, School of EngineeringUniversity of MinhoGuimarãesPortugal

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